Real (Estate) Talk -- LISTEN: In Today's Market, Can Doing Good Help Agents Do Well?

As featured in my Inman News monthly column

As 90+ degree weather looms over Atlanta (to the chagrin of natives I do secretly call it "Hotlanta"), I find respite in connecting with new people along with local business leaders in the cool of an air-conditioned networking event.

Typically the flow of both creative ideas and air conditioning are a balm to my soul. 

But the last event I attended left me with a sweat of panic despite the icy chill from the vents. There was a very candid conversation by some real estate agents and investors that to do well in real estate, one is better off not getting bogged down with how to simultaneously do good for the community. 

Say what! [Cue record scratch.]

Their take:

"Buy homes low (for five/six figures) in a legacy community and then build out to the point that you can resell for seven or eight figures. Does it hurt the legacy residents? Who cares! Does it make affordable housing even less attainable by driving up surrounding market values? Who cares!"

Mind you, their conversation was on the heels of Atlanta being named the most overpriced market, which those of us that worked through “The Great Recession” know can be a recipe for disaster.

Of course, I shared examples of how doing well can be an outflow of doing good like with Maryland’s Parity Homes. But this topic needs a deeper dive than that speed networking event.

Sidebar: I am a little bit of a history nerd so let me give more context for why I believe doing well and doing good are not mutually exclusive. The fact that the creation of the modern U.S. middle class through widespread homeownership (and access to no/low-fee college education) became a case for worldwide study due to the original G.I. Bill, helps to prove that when we do good in our communities, we (agents, investors and frankly the economy as a whole) do well. The G.I. Bill revolutionized generational wealth for today’s generations whose relatives (parents, grandparents) were not excluded nor refused access to the housing and educational benefits that their service entitled them to receive. Unfortunately, since federal fair housing was not law at that time, it is no secret that Black and Asian WWII veterans were often excluded from specifically the housing benefits that created the middle class, impacting their financial legacy. (The benefits were available but not all banks/lenders, sellers, home builders, or agents would honor those benefits). We know that today this is part of the reason for the persistent racial wealth gap. Remarkably, Black American veterans were able to still turn lemons into lemonade by co-writing what eventually became the Federal Fair Housing Act. But imagine where our economy would be if all our WWII veterans, no matter race, nationality or skin color had access and opportunity to their promised housing benefits some 80 years ago? What would that mean for us, their descendants and their communities? Would intentionally divested areas in majority People of Color communities have received the dollars needed for them to not be in disrepair? Doing good, means we can do well and perhaps much better than everyone for themselves.

Additionally, I was reminded of an earlier episode of the Atlanta REALTORS® Rundown with author and Georgia State University professor, Dr. Dan Immergluck, where he made the case for real estate professionals flexing our real estate acumen more as advocates, especially in relation to fair, affordable housing.

What does that look like beyond the classroom and in real (no longer) theoretical life?

With the affordable housing crisis hitting many parts of the nation (meaning this conversation is bigger than Atlanta), what can we do?

For this episode of the Atlanta REALTORS® Rundown, I am honored to be joined by a person who embodies community advocacy and is real estate royalty as a servant leader. 

Amy McCoy (broker/owner of My Hometown Realty Group) shares how to juggle being a broker/owner and community advocate, which is no easy feat.

I have personally worked with Amy to amplify the experiences of her clients in regard to appraisal bias in order to impact policy change that promotes the wealth-building garnered through fair and equitable appraisals (see their stories as featured on ABC Atlanta affiliate WSBTV). She is truly an inspiration!

Example of Amy McCoy's dedication to advocacy

Sound off - I would love to hear from you!  Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Or, get your "training on" with these on-demand classes.  Here's to your success! #LearnWithDrLee
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